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How Many Eggs?

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Why do this problem?

In this problem we have five conditions which makes just trial and improvement a possible lengthy affair. Some initial logical thinking reduces the number of options.

Possible approach

You may wish to use Eggs in Baskets first, as a whole class activity which is an easier example of this kind of question. Share strategies which help and ways of recording.

Then give pairs of children this question and give some time for them to 'get into' the problem, allowing them a choice of resources. After a little while ask the class to stop and share what they have found out so far and how. Encourage them to justify any statements they make, and if agreed record these centrally for all to see. Emphasise that the solution itself is of less interest than the logical thinking that takes place.

Rather than stopping the class when a solution is found, encourage the children to record their work on large sheets of paper and display these where all can see them, choosing one or two pairs to describe their way of working and take questions from the rest of the class.

Key questions

Can we say who has the most eggs?
How do you know?

Possible extension

Children who complete this quickly and easily could make up similar problems for others. It may take some time for them to realise that starting with the solution is an easier way of making up a question than beginning with the statements!

Possible support

Children who find this difficult could also make up questions, beginning with a number of eggs divided between three people and recording enough statements about the distribution for someone else to work out what it is.